Stella and Matthew | Centennial Vineyards, Bowral

As local Southern Highlanders started pulling out puffy jackets and complaining about the freezing cold weather (as is done every year at around this time!), I had been keeping my eye on the grape vines. Each morning and afternoon, as I drove along Centennial Road to school and back with the boys, I watched the delicate leaves turn from a hint of yellow, deepening orange, vivid red, and finally, and most unfortunately, to a crumbly brown. You see, I met Stella and Matt at Centennial Winery a few months ago, and we all had been keeping our fingers crossed that the weather would stay mild enough for the colour to remain on the leaves just long enough for their wedding. As the weekend rolled round, autumn colours had been replaced with cool greys and greens, the Highlands get even more beautiful as the weather gets cold and crisp, in my opinion. The vines looked just as spectacular all bare, like delicate sculptures.

Their wedding was particularly top of mind, given I had thought about it each and every day as I drove past the reception venue. When I saw my calendar alert pop up very early on a Friday morning, I ran around like a crazy person, made sure the kids were sorted out, grabbed my gear, and left! In my haste and excitement, I miss-read my usual pre wedding planning alert, and arrived at the brides home a full day too early, giving Stella a near heart attack in the process! She ushered me in, in great humour, and as we laughed at my keenness to photograph them over a cup of tea, I got to know her beautiful family and friends a little better and was even more pumped for the following day. 

The atmosphere at the brides home the following morning was calm, and peaceful... full of love, excitement, hospitality, and friendship. Whilst great friends put the finishing touches on wedding flowers, little boys were fed and cared for, speeches were checked, and kids were dressed.

The same calm excitement was also felt at the gorgeous St Francis Xavier, in Berrima, a few minutes drive away, where Stella and Matt were to be married. Matt welcomed loved ones and waited patiently for the arrival of his bride, and mother of two beautiful little boys.

From the day I first met them, there was something so authentic and warm about Stella and Matt. I could tell they would be a delight to spend the day with, letting things unfold naturally, instead of forcing events to a strict timeline. We had of course roughly planned out what we should do and when, but when the beautiful ceremony had concluded, and guests went off to kill some time before the reception, this gorgeous bridal party cracked open a bottle of Moet and enjoyed some quiet time before the rest of the night began, throwing plans in to the wind! We finally drove the couple of minutes to Centennial Winery, where the girls savoured the warmth of the car. Stella and Matt wondered off with me for a little shoot on our own, only to be followed by Sidney and Monty, who were warmly included in the shoot. It was all perfect, no rush to do anything or be anywhere, just enjoying each moment and opportunity as it presented itself, and letting things unfold naturally. I always cry at weddings, but this one had me crying one minute, laughing the next, and enjoying each and every moment of it all the way from the previous day, until well into the night.

I wish these two, and their gorgeous little boys, the very best for all this yet to come there way ... They already have a beautiful family, and are surrounded by loved ones ... not a bad start :)